Saturday, November 1, 2008

FAQ's- Harman Hydroflex, agrafuels, tax credit, harman stoves

Question: I would love your take on the agripellet market. Seems to be getting started in EU.

Answer: Non-wood pellets are beginning to appear on the market in the mid-west. A sponsor for a recent bioenergy show in Minnesota was Sunrise Agrafuels. Harman was demoing the fuel in their PC45 biomass stove. It burned very well. They use ag residue from farm fields for raw material. The heat was consistent with a woody biomass fuel and the ash content was around 2%. You would definitely need a multi-fuel stove to burn this fuel and it does have a higher ash content but they worked well, and were cleaner than some bark mulch pellets I have seen.

Question: Did you like the new HydroFlex60. Would you get one? Any idea when one might be able to get one?

Answer: I do like the HydroFlex60. It is smaller in size and btu's than Harman's PB105, but it was designed that way. Some uses for it include assisting with geothermal heat pump setups, or smaller homes. I do have plans to install one- hopefully in conjunction with a solar hot water package in the next couple of years. It is anticpated that it will be able to go into production mid to late 2009. They are still trying to fill existing orders with current products. There are only a couple of prototypes so there is no pricing structure that I have seen. I will keep you updated! Here are some pictures for you though.

Question: Is your contact info anywhere on the blog?

Answer: No. I didn't want this site to be a sales tool, just an informational tool. I just want to try to answer things as best I can to promote the industry. If you leave a comment I will do my best to get back to you as quickly and accurately as my schedule allows :)

Question: My question is if (in my Harman P68) I change the temperature from 75 to say 85 will it use more pellets or will it just burn those pellets hotter and distribute that heat in the room more?

Answer: If you have your Harman set on room temperature the stove will use the necessary amount of fuel to keep your room at that desired temperature. Generally a higher temperature setting, 85 in your case, would mean that more fuel will be burned. Keep in mind that outside factors can affect fuel usage as well. Insulation, outside temperature, natural airflow through your home, doors and windows opening. The nice thing is that the Harman's self adjust by taking perpetual temperature readings from your room.

Question: What is the purpose of the feed adjustor on my Harman?

Answer: (from Harman)'The feed rate knob sets the maximum time per minute the control will let the feed motor run. The feed rate knob is set to have the stove perform its best depending on the ash content of the pellets you are burning. A feed rate of 4 to 4 ½ works best for most applications. Once you set the feed rate knob, no further adjustment is needed unless you make a change in pellet quality. A common misconception about the feed rate knob is that turning it to a lower setting will cause you to burn less fuel. Since turning the feed rate knob down will lower the maximum time you allow the feed motor to run every minute, the stove will feed at this maximum rate longer to satisfy the temperature setting, resulting in increased fuel consumption.'

I usually recommend starting at a four and you may need to adjust slightly up if you have long pellets, and less if you have shorter pellets. I have never moved mine off of a 3.5 setting for both my boiler and pellet stove.

Question: I burn a bag and a half of pellets a day. The stove runs constantly but the stove is rarely roaring. Is it better to turn it up so the fire is hotter for shorter amounts of time?

Answer: One of the great things about pellet stoves is their ability to adjust the fuel to air ratio so that you don't need to have a raging fire in all temperature scenarios. You can get an efficient clean burn whether you need 12,000 btu's or 68,000 btu's. Harman self-adjusts to give you the temperature you set. So in the morning if you turn the stove on in a cold house the stove will turn itself on and there will be a large fire. As the day warms the fire will shrink as your heat need is lower. When the sun starts to set and the temperature outside drops the stove may increase the size of flame. The thing to remember is that it will never give you more or less than you ask for.

Question: My dealer is telling me that I should put a deposit down to get on a waiting list for a boiler next year. Do you recommend that?

Answer: We took orders in May and June for stoves that would be delivered through the end of the year. It was a non-refundable deposit. We have not had cancellations and Harman has delivered stoves on schedule. Lennox did not release a stove per it's promise and we did give a couple of folks their money back. We did not take orders beyond the end of the year because stove manufacturer's were not giving ship dates or quantities of stoves for shipment beyond December. We now have numbers from Harman and Lennox for stove ship dates in the first quarter of 2009. We will shortly be taking orders and deposits for those stoves.

Each dealer is different!!!!!!

Questions to ask them might include whether they had a past track record of delivering on time? Do they have an actual ship date for the stove they are selling you? Is the deposit refundable or transferrable? What will they do if the date cannot be met (notification, discount, cancellation policy change...)?
Remember that most dealers are doing their absolute best to give you accurate information and a fair deal.

Question: I heard there was a tax credit for pellet stoves starting in 2009?

Answer: True! Senator John Sununu co-sponsored a tax credit for pellet stoves this fall saying, “We need to encourage renewable energy with strong tax incentives, and I am pleased that this bill includes my 10 percent tax credit for high efficiency wood pellet stoves,” said Sununu. “I have consistently fought to expand renewable energy tax incentives, and this is the second time that the Senate has considered our bipartisan proposal. It was passed in the bailout package in October. The credit will be up to $300 for a pellet stove, insert, or whole house system.

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